May 11-12, 2012 – Moving always brings its own challenges; packing, cleaning, sending stuff you actually did need with the movers (thank goodness for Walmart), and driving 1000 miles in just over a day. The movers were pretty good, they just showed up an hour and half outside their two hour window. But, we still made it to Fayetteville, NC, and our hotel was good. Actually, that’s a story in itself. We wanted to stay in Florence, but there was a NASCAR event in a nearby town and, well, any hotel you’d even think about staying at was booked solid.
Anyway, we made it to NC, got some rest, and were on the road again. Highlights included driving through the pretty southern VA countryside and snagging lunch at McDonald’s in Thornburg, VA; passing by DC and spotting the Washington Monument, Capitol dome, and Jefferson Memorial; not getting hit by Maryland drivers (unlike the two multi-car wrecks we saw); getting stuck in traffic for 3 hours in the Baltimore Washington Parkway; enjoying the openness of the NJ turnpike; Popeye’s chicken (go with the fries, skip the mac ‘n cheese) on the turnpike; seeing the NYC skyline; driving through Queens at 9pm on a Friday night; going through Delaware and Connecticut; and finally reaching our hotel in MA.
Now to unpack, do a bit of exploring, and wait for the movers!
It was cold and rainy, which made it a great day for the museums.
February 5, 2012 – Sunday morning we went back to the Art Museum. We checked out the modern art building, which also had a few of Audobon’s life-size drawings of birds. Tony really enjoyed the art, but Louisa found most of it clinical and verging on nihilistic. We also went back to the main (new) building, which was constructed to bring in maximum outside light to illuminate the art. This time we saw the older pieces, including Egyptian work. Some of these dated to 6000-4500 B.C. (well, labelled B.C.E. for political correctness; but it’s still using the same point in time as the demarcation. This is why I don’t do political correctness, it doesn’t *change* anything.) The museum also has an outdoor sculpture garden, which we quickly walked through since it was cold and windy.
We liked it a latte.
After finishing the Art Museum it was time to head downtown. The parking is free on Sunday, so we got a spot in the lot by the State Capitol. After walking through the grounds we found an (open) coffee shop downtown, The Morning Times. We got a chai and a latte, and found one of the last open tables upstairs. The coffees were excellent, though the crowded nature of the place made it less-than-ideal for long term hanging out.
The Acrocanthosaurus exhibit is a main attraction at the science museum.
After enjoying our drinks and vacating the table we went back towards the History and Science museums. Up first was a quick walk through the History museum, where we saw exhibits about colonial times, the Revolutionary War, slavery, and the Civil War. They also had a few race cars as a special exhibit.
Downtown Raleigh is a great spot for museums.
The next stop was the Science museum. We enjoyed the natural wildlife exhibits, complete with trees, flowers, birds and mammals. Our other favorite exhibit was the large Acrocanthosaurus dinosaur skeleton. The museum cafe also makes good paninis (cheese and apple) and French onion soup. After browsing the museums we went back to the Village Draft House to relax for a bit before heading to Jasmin for dinner and getting on the road.
Immediately upon entering Jasmin Mediterranean Bistro you’re greeted by delicious smells of spices and roasted meat. We settled on the gyro platter, with the rice, grape leaves with tzatziki, and pita. Everything was fresh, tasty, and fantastic. So fantastic that we made plans to come back the next day. That time we tried the platter as well as a gyros sandwich. The sandwich was huge (almost as big as the platter), and just as good.
Coffee and Crepes is a local place serving, appropriately, coffee and crepes. We tried a few crepes, a savory ham and Gruyere, and a sweet Nutella and banana. As well as a cup of coffee. The coffee was good, though not piping hot.
The crepes were excellent, partly because they were freshly made after we ordered them. Both were very good, and even those with a sweet tooth will enjoy the savory crepes (and the “meat and potato” lover will like the sweet ones). Whichever you choose, as long as they’re freshly made, the crepes are a winner.